Fishing: Lost Lures & Life Lessons

“Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Brother + Sister | Lake Lahontan | circa 1999

Some of my earliest memories include fishing with my family. When I was little, we would stop by this little store to pick up a small, Styrofoam cup of worms on our way to go fishing at Lake Lahontan. Every single time, I would name each of the worms and make up little stories about their lives. While my younger brother refused to touch the worms (and he still does to this very day), my dad had to convince me to stop playing with the worms so that we could bait our hooks. Unless we are on a backpacking trip, we usually practice catch and release.

Pyramid Lake Sunset

Yesterday, my family celebrated my dad’s birthday with a quick fishing trip to the Truckee River. There is something so peaceful and calming about being near water. Just being outdoors and away from technology has a way of clearing your mind. However, getting my dad to stop fishing is like trying to pull a ten-year-old boy away from his favorite video game. Near impossible. This is literally how the end of the fishing went yesterday:

Mom: “Okay, Russ–it’s time to start wrapping up…”

Dad: “Alright, let me catch just one more fish.”

*Next cast, catches fish*

*Dad continues fishing*

Me: “I thought that was the last one?”

Dad: “Okay, okay. Just one more fish.”

*Repeat scenario a few more times*

Dad in his happy place | Pyramid Lake

I am thankful I grew up fishing. Fishing teaches you a few very important and valuable life lessons.

Patience: We all interact with people on a daily basis who have zero patience. I have gone on fishing trips with dad during which we spent 8 hours on the lake and caught nothing. Literally–we wouldn’t even get one bite. We have also had days, like yesterday, when we caught fish every few casts. There are some days when things will go your way. However, you will also have days when it feels like nothing is going your way. That is just a part of life. We can’t control everything–sometimes we have to wait a really long time for something we want more than anything. Whether you have patience through faith, or by training yourself to change your mindset–even just a little bit of patience will take you far in life. I was not going to say it but I know it crossed your mind–patience is a virtue. 

Time with family is never wasted: Some of you might be laughing at the fact that I have spent many 8-hour days fishing on a lake, catching nothing. Why waste so much time? Well–none of that time ever felt wasted. I was able to spend valuable time with my dad, brother, grandpa, uncles, and cousins, making memories that will last a lifetime. 

Nothing is perfect: During yesterday’s fishing trip, the following happened in just a few brief hours:

Fishing lures lost: 8 (sorry dad)

Fishing pole malfunctions: 1

Trying to find a parking spot: near impossible

Fish caught and released back into the river: 9!

Life’s not perfect and you’ll make things much easier for yourself if you learn to laugh at the small things and appreciate life’s hiccups. 

Commitment: When we go fishing at Pyramid Lake, we bring our waders and dress for the weather. Yesterday’s trip to the river was not supposed to involve getting in the water. On a pathetic cast, I got one of dad’s favorite lures stuck in the rocks. Oops. Without a second thought, my dad jumps in the river (in his gym shoes) to save his precious lure. If you are passionate about something or someone, it’s not difficult to be fully committed. Commitment is something that does not require contemplation–it’s effortless. Oh, and let’s recall those 8-hour long fishing trips I mentioned earlier…complete commitment.

learning to fly fish in 50 mph wind | Pyramid Lake

What are some of the activities you experienced growing up that taught you valuable life lessons? I would love to hear your thoughts!

The Final Graduation: A Bittersweet Ending & Beautiful Beginning

“What she tackles, she conquers.”

-Richard Gilmore

Tomorrow, I will attend my final graduation. I easily get nostalgic, so the other night I decided to pull out my 6th grade yearbook. Each student wrote a paragraph about where they saw themselves in 20 years. Here is what I wrote:

“In twenty years, I Kayla Brown, will be 32. Hopefully, I will have a two story house with a huge garden in my backyard in Rome, Italy. I will maybe be married with a daughter and a son. I will have a beagle and and a golden lab. I will have a Bachelor’s degree in either interior design or architecture from UNR. When I retire, I will travel throughout Europe and write a book called, Within Europe. It will include the best sights to see, dining areas, overnight stays in suites, and places to have fun. This is where I’d like to be in twenty years.”

Let me know when you have finished laughing. Obviously, I have always loved planning ahead. Way ahead. While my fellow 6th grade classmates were writing about owning “19 boats and 1 yacht” and being “single and rich,” my 12-year-old self was already brainstorming the travel book I would write during retirement. I do not currently reside in Italy, but thankfully I have a decent chunk of time before I turn 32 to start working on that.

School has always been an important and essential component of my life. My parents never pushed me hard in school, it was always a choice I made to challenge myself. I have always admired the work ethics of both my parents and I knew I wanted to be just like them. They work hard and deserve every bit of the lives they have made for themselves. My parents are my biggest supporters and I would not be where I am today without their unconditional love and encouragement.

It is so hard to say goodbye to something that has always been a part of my life. I love the structure that comes with school and knowing exactly what I need to accomplish in order to reach the ultimate goal. But then I also have to remind myself that many of my favorite memories came from times when I did not have every minute planned out. By not creating specific expectations for my life, I know that I am allowing for the potential to experience a life that exceeds my wildest dreams. It might be cheesy to say, but anything is truly possible.

For those of you who have been reading my blog posts, you are probably wondering how I am going to incorporate essential oils into this post. Well…I am not.

Tomorrow, I will attend my final graduation. I will not need lavender to calm my nerves, nor will I need wild orange to uplift my emotions.

Tomorrow, when I attend my final graduation, the only emotion I am going to feel is pure and simple pride.

Pride is a direct result of hard work; it is not a feeling you can fake. Everything in life is only worth the time you put in to achieve it. The last year and a half have been the most challenging, yet rewarding years of my life. There were days when I doubted myself. There were days when I realized I had taken on too much. There were days when I felt disappointed when I fell short of the expectations I had set for myself. There were days when I cried (more than I care to admit).

Ultimately, was it all worth it?

Yes.

Yes, a million times.

The confidence I have gained, friendships I have developed, and self-development I have experienced is worth so much more than each and every obstacle and setback along the way.

For the first time in my life, I do not have an exact plan. Yet somehow, I feel more prepared for the future than ever before.

Tomorrow, I will attend my final graduation — a moment in my life that represents both a bittersweet ending and a beautiful brand new beginning.

Turquoise Roots

“Remember your roots, trust your wings.”

I come from a long line of turquoise lovers. My great-grandmother lived in Albuquerque, New Mexico and she absolutely adored her turquoise jewelry. Over the past few years, I have also become quite fond of turquoise. There are very few days you will find me without my turquoise rings because going “ringless” makes me feel as if I am missing a part of myself. It is hard to explain, but somehow, my turquoise rings bring me a sense of safety. It was not until a few months ago that I came across some interesting information regarding the history of and meaning behind turquoise.

Turquoise is a purification stone–it dispels negative energy, acts as a mood stabilizer, and instills a sense of inner calm. For thousands of years, this “fallen sky stone” has brought protection, strength, and power to cultures across the globe.  Did you know that King Tut’s burial mask was adorned with turquoise stones? Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but turquoise will always be my soul mate.

The United States is currently the world’s largest producer of turquoise. Nevada, New Mexico, California, and Colorado all have mines in which dissolved copper has combined with aluminum and phosphorus to create beautiful turquoise stones.

Turquoise influences my emotional, spiritual, and environmental dimensions of wellness. If you missed my post on the importance of balancing all seven dimensions of wellness, you can check it out here!

Here’s how these tiny, precious items contribute to my overall balance:

  • Emotional Wellness: Each time I glance at my turquoise rings, I am reminded of my strong roots– the independent women in my family who I am proud to call my role models. These turquoise rings allow me to feel grounded and have become a unique component of who I am as an individual.
  • Spiritual Wellness: I believe you attract the same type of energy that you release into the world. Think about it for a moment…when you have a positive mindset, you tend to focus more on the wonderful things in life and you attract people who possess a similar mindset and vibe. Turquoise instills me with positive energy and I am therefore able to release positive energy back into the world. Simply put, energy is constantly flowing.
  • Environmental Wellness: We all need the occasional reminder that the world does not revolve around ourselves. Rather, we are part of a much larger interconnected web. The turquoise in my rings spent hundreds (if not thousands) of years in the earth. These specific stones were stationary for the majority of their lives, but now that turquoise travels with me around the world. I find that to be a pretty amazing concept,

I do not believe it is materialistic to have tangible items that remind you of who you are. Maybe you have a little momento from an amazing trip or a photo that reminds you of a lost beloved one. Whatever that object is for you, hold onto it. Let it serve as a constant reminder of your core being. Allow it be a window into your heart and soul.

What item serves as a reminder to your roots? What dimensions of wellness do you believe this reminder brings balance to? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Finding Forgiveness

“Continue to love. Continue to forgive. Continue to grow.”

I think we can all be a little hypocritical when it comes to forgiveness. We expect others to easily and effortlessly forgive us, but when the tables are turned, we can be completely resistant to forgiving others. Forgiveness is tricky because it is something that takes place in our minds. I used to believe that I had to forgive people who broke me in order to heal and ultimately, move on. However, I now understand that what I actually need is to forgive myself.

Forgiveness for a Broken Heart: We have all been there. You think you have found “the one” and the next thing you know, you are left in the dust, feeling all alone, with a broken heart. Your soul is crushed and you feel utterly lost and completely confused. Will I ever feel that happy again? The answer is always yes. Happiness is something that comes from within. It took me quite some time, but I have learned to accept that I have zero control over the unpredictable actions of other individuals. Happiness is a result of your mindset. You should rely on other people to enhance your happiness and not to be the primary source of your happiness.

When I began picking up the pieces of my broken heart, I realized I had allowed someone else’s life and future to become more important than my own. How did I allow myself to get to that point? I spent months (yes, months) overanalyzing every part of our relationship. I ran hundreds of scenarios through my head and became so wrapped up in the “what if I would have said or done this?” You can’t put a timeframe on “getting over” something. I also knew that I did not want to end up being the type of person who “can’t trust” because one person broke all of the promises they made to me.

He did not provide me with closure, so I had to find my own closure through self-forgiveness. Ultimately, it does not matter why he chose to leave me. We all get to make our own choices and sometimes things just can’t be explained. He never asked for my forgiveness. For the longest time, I believed I had to forgive him in order to feel whole again. The solution for a broken heart is to forgive yourself. You put your whole heart into what was an exciting adventure. Forgive yourself. You have a better understanding of who you want to be and who you want to be with. Forgive yourself.

He still crosses my mind and I will wonder if he kept my handwritten letters or the canvas I spent an entire weekend painting, pouring my love for him into every single brush stroke. But then I have to stop my mind from wandering too far down a road with no future. There is no use in reliving memories that do not positively contribute to my future.

Love is not what hurt you, the person who did not really know how to love you is why you feel betrayed. It is not about trying to fix yourself because you feel broken. It is about being presented with the opportunity to start over and create something that has the potential to be even better than your wildest dreams. I know I am not perfect but I work every day to become a better version of myself. I must forgive myself for my failed relationships and mistakes in order to grow. And in the end, that is more than good enough for me.

Forgiveness for a Broken Bond: There are certain people in my life that I have effortlessly connected with. We thrive on the same energy. We have been there for each other’s best and worst moments. Your vibe really does attract your tribe. Over the past few years, my circle of friends has really dwindled down. And yes, that was a conscious choice I made. It was a choice I needed to make to bring back balance to my emotional wellness.

It is difficult being around someone who is always negative. It is mentally draining to try and stay positive when you are surrounded by negativity. Their negative energy brings you down and before you realize it, you have started to pick up on their negative habits. Negativity does not make someone a bad person and you should not feel like a bad person for choosing to head down a different path. Forgive yourself.

Cutting people out of my life made me feel so guilty until I realized time is my most valuable resource. Unlike most tangible things in life, you just do not know how much time you will be given in life. I want to make the most out of every moment in my life and I believe we should never feel guilty for valuing our time.

Forgiveness for a “Failed” Attempt: If you were to look at my transcript for my undergraduate career, you would see mostly A’s and B’s.  Now I say mostly because on that transcript, an accounting class will quickly jump out at you to reveal I also received an F.  I went to every lecture, read every chapter, completed the homework assignments, and then miserably failed every test.

At the time, I blamed my professor after he showed a lack of interest in really helping me discover ways to be more successful.  I had the opportunity to drop the class, but I wanted to prove to myself that I could overcome the obstacles presented by the course.  Despite the fact that I was pouring myself into the class, I had nothing to show.  I realized I only loved the challenges when my efforts resulted in successes.

Sometimes your best effort will not result in your desired outcome. Forgive yourself. I do not consider this experience a failure but chose to see it as a learning experience. After all the courses I had successfully completed through my academic career, this is the experience in school that I learned the most from. It completely changed the way I approached my classes because I became more focused on being open to truly learning.

I did not let a grade I received in one course define who I am. I learned to move forward with the assumption that I will continue to face challenges and persevere through failures because perfection is unrealistic.  I believe I can further develop my basic qualities through continued efforts.  Ultimately, I value all of my experiences, regardless of the outcomes because I will always find a way to forgive myself.

Incorporate Essential Oils: Did you know there are essential oils that promote feelings of forgiveness and understanding? Whenever I begin to start blaming others, feel judgmental, or become overly critical of myself, I reach for my “renewing blend.” This blend promotes letting go of bitterness, mistrust, and anger. We all make mistakes so just remember…we are all learning and growing together and kindness goes a long way. This forgiving blend includes Spruce, Bergamot, Juniper Berry, Myrrh, Arborvitae, and Thyme essential oils.

What are some of the ways you pursue self-forgiveness? Are there any specific essential oils you incorporate into your daily routine to promote forgiveness? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Pursuing Peace

“To find peace, you have to be willing to lose your connection with the people, places, and things that create all the noise in your life.”

It is interesting to consider that as technology has simplified components of our lives, it has also overcomplicated our lives in the process. Technology has made routine tasks easier, but we have taken advantage of this increased efficiency. As human beings, we believe that when we have more time available, we should pile more responsibilities on top of our already busy schedules. Somewhere in this rush, the importance of human connections has begun to fade as we are consumed by what is going on in our own lives. Don’t worry – I will save my whole “I think I was born in the wrong decade” rant for a later time. I frequently find myself caught up in the rush as I scurry from home to work to school. Where do I draw the line?

A recent Luke Bryan song says “sixty seconds now feels more like thirty…sand through the glass sure falls in a hurry”. We have made it much easier for ourselves to believe we always need to be hurrying from one place to the next, constantly overwhelmed by a range of responsibilities. Why do we continue to accept the glorification of being busyIn order to change the pace of our lives, we must first learn that being a busier person does not automatically makes you a more important person. Now, I do not want that to be misconstrued because there is nothing wrong with being involved in a variety of activities. However, we also need to prioritize our wellness – specifically, focusing on balancing the seven dimensions of wellness.

The instant I begin to feel overwhelmed by my responsibilities, I practice living in the moment. Regardless of where I find myself in that moment, I stop whatever I am doing and become truly present. I really take in the details of my surroundings and observe the interactions taking place around me. The world is not revolving around me and I give myself a simple reminder that the stresses associated with my busy schedule are ultimately meaningless compared to the much bigger picture in life. Next, I take some deep breaths. I might take a few minutes to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine, or maybe I will notice the way the leaves on the trees dance in the breeze. As I begin to regain a sense of certainty, I also reevaluate my responsibilities.

When I reach those overwhelming moments, I know it is time for me to engage in one of my “pursuing peace” activities. These brief activities are just enough to restore balance to my overall wellness by addressing my emotional dimension of wellness.

Soak Up Some Epsom! Epsom salt (or magnesium sulfate) is a natural mineral compound which provides a variety of health benefits. When you place Epsom salt in a warm bath, the salt will quickly dissolve and the magnesium and sulfate will easily be absorbed by the human body. As a result of this absorption, you will begin to experience relaxation and thanks to our little friend reverse osmosis, toxins will be removed from your body.

  • Tip: for the perfect detoxifying soak, add about 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath! For enhanced relaxation, add a few drops of Lavender or Eucalyptus essential oil and soak for at least 15 minutes! This is the perfect way to end a long, stressful day!

Sip on Calming Chamomile! If you are in need of a quick, yet calming activity before bedtime, sip on a steaming cup of chamomile tea! In addition to its soothing properties, chamomile is a great source of antioxidants, it relieves headaches, and calms an upset stomach. I love that loose-leaf chamomile tea has actual chamomile flowers and I enjoy the process of steeping my own tea! I buy my loose–leaf chamomile tea from a small, local business that supplies spices and tea. If you live in Northern Nevada, you must check out salty–savory–sweet!

  • Tip: for an extra hint of chamomile, add 1 drop of Chamomile essential oil to your cup of tea! Spend a few minutes breathing in the aromas from the steam and clear your mind of the day’s stresses before you slip into bed for a great night’s sleep!

Incorporate Essential Oils! Did you know there are essential oils that can provide calming benefits and bring you a sense of peace? When I begin to feel anxious and completely overwhelmed, I grab my “reassuring blend” for an instant boost of composure and contentment. This peaceful blend includes Spearmint, Vetiver, Lavender, Yang-Ylang, Clary Sage, Frankincense, and Marjoram essential oils.

  • Tip: apply this blend to your wrists, the back of your neck, and temples! Don’t forget – you can always inhale the aromas straight from the bottle as well!

What are some of the ways you bring peace back into your life when you are feeling overwhelmed? Are there any specific essential oils you incorporate into your daily routine to promote feelings of reassurance? I would love to hear from you!

Managing Motivation

“She turned her cant’s into cans and her dreams into plans.”

I currently work full–time in addition to attending grad school as a full–time student. I have a hard time remembering what “free time” feels like and my planner is my lifeline (yes – I still prefer to physically write down my schedule despite the pressures of the digital world). Even though I usually feel completely drained by the end of each day, there is this tiny part of me that continues to feel both encouraged and empowered by my overwhelming schedule.

What really motivates me? I love achieving my goals because the feeling of accomplishment provides me with a sense of purpose and pride. Regardless of the task at hand, I always pour 100% of myself into every single thing I do. I do not believe in minimal effort or creating the illusion of hard work. Most days, I love that I have a motivated mindset as it leads me to feel very productive and accomplished. However, there are days when I wish I had a just a few extra hours to cross a few more things off my never–ending to–do list. As a result of my busy schedule, I do occasionally experience burnout. Therefore, I must continually remind myself that it is of the utmost importance I work towards balancing the seven dimensions of wellness for the sake of my sanity.

If you find yourself struggling to stay motivated, here are some tips to get you back on the motivation train –

Identify your Motivators: It is vital you understand what motivates you. Are you motivated by money or recognition? Or maybe it is the pure feeling of accomplishment? If you are having a difficult time identifying your motivators, ask yourself what encourages you to get out of bed each morning? Once you have identified your motivators, structure your goals around these triggers. When your goals align with your motivators, it will be much easier to pursue your goals.

Scale your Goals: If you find yourself feeling discouraged, break down your goals into smaller, clearly defined actions. As you begin to accomplish these attainable goals, you will feel further encouraged to continue working hard towards your long term goals. Do not forget to reward yourself when you reach your milestones. Rewards are a great reminder that you are accomplishing BIG and meaningful goals.

Etched in Stone: Okay, okay…you can call me old–fashioned, but I refuse to give up my planner. I love writing down my schedule and the tasks I need to accomplish because it feels more permanent. If I make a quick note on my phone, it is so easy to delete that note when I feel strapped for time. Writing in my planner also gives me a visual of the total workload I am facing. Additionally, a planner is a great visual reminder of all the things you have accomplished, and the fun you were able to squeeze into your busy schedule. Plus – who doesn’t love writing with different colored pens and using fun sticky notes?

Incorporate Essential Oils: Did you know there are essential oils that can lift your spirit and revive your intentions? When I begin to feel worn out and unable to press on, I grab my “encouraging blend” for an instant boost of energy, confidence, and motivation. This motivation blend includes Peppermint, Coriander, Clementine, Basil, Yuzu, Vanilla, Rosemary, and Melissa essential oils.

Interested in reading more tips for staying motivated? Check out this post here for additional strategies!

What are some of the ways you motivate yourself to reach your goals? Are there any specific essential oils you incorporate into your daily routine to promote feelings of encouragement? I would love to hear from you!

Emotions, Essential Oils, & Escaping Anxiety

“The body benefits from movement and the mind benefits from stillness.”

Nearly 40 million Americans struggle with anxiety disorders. Social anxiety disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder, general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder, just barely tap into the range of anxiety disorders people struggle with every single day. Did you know that anxiety is the most common mental illness in the nation?  What is even more astonishing is that the majority of individuals who struggle with anxiety disorders do not seek any type of treatment. Even if you do not have a diagnosed anxiety disorder, it is likely that you too have experienced anxiety at some point in your life.

I frequently struggle with anxiety because I tend to overthink things, I put a lot of pressure on myself, and the idea of change can be frightening. When I let my anxiety take control, my chest gets tight making it hard to breathe, my stomach feels like it is tied in a bunch of knots, and my mind races with all sorts of fears. I find it extremely difficult to verbalize how I experience anxiety and I know that I am not alone in feeling embarrassed to talk about my anxiety. Even more, it makes me feel weak knowing that I continue to battle with balancing my emotions and taming my fears. Discussing anxiety is not easy and that is why I believe so many individuals try to function with their anxiety and allow their symptoms go untreated.

When essential oils were introduced into my life, I was completely unaware of the immense emotional support this natural health option could provide. Now, I am no brain expert – I knew after a frog dissection in my biology class freshman year of high school that I had no aspirations to end up in med school. However, I do have a basic understanding of the brain’s limbic system. I promise to keep the science of this short and sweet, but if you want more scientific evidence you should check out this website. The limbic system is responsible for our emotions, memories, thoughts, and hormone production. So, why is this important? Essential oils directly impact the limbic system. 

I hesitate in using the word aromatherapy because a lot of people associate aromatherapy with “patchouli” and “hippies” and then they quickly begin to lose interest in the conversation. I wholeheartedly believe you will not truly understand the potential power of aromatherapy for regulating emotions until you experience the aromatic benefits of essential oils. When I start to feel extra stressed, experience low energy, or have difficulty sleeping – I reach for my oils. Essential oils have provided me with the opportunity to regulate my anxiety and uplift my emotions.

The moment I took control of my health and began to regulate my emotions with essential oils, I began to feel more optimistic and inspired. I have learned the hard way that I am unable to control everything that happens in my life. However, I do have complete control over how I choose to react to what happens in my life. Proactively approaching the physical and emotional dimensions of wellness will provide a sense of empowerment that will seep into other aspects of your life.  I was able to harness that strength and confidence to raise my expectations. I then began eliminating toxic people and activities that were creating negativity in my life and ultimately, bringing me down.

In case you missed it, you should check out my blog post here on the seven dimensions of wellness!

As we begin to explore the many types of essential oils available, I will emphasize which oils specifically help improve our many emotions. What natural health solutions have you found to be successful in combating anxiety and regulating your emotions? I would love to hear your thoughts!